You may or may not have heard of Gloria Leonard before. She’s one of the protagonists of “The Opening of Misty Beethoven”, a porn movie released in 1976. She’s also the inventor of phone sex chat lines for mobile devices. Let’s see how it all happened.
After her brilliant porn career (she had a role in Maraschino Cherry, Candy Lips, Odyssey and many other hardcore movies), she was hired as an editor by the magazine High Society, sort of the Penthouse of that times.
But what does her career in erotic publishing have to do with the birth of the first phone sex line? It’s simple. Soon Gloria purchased a local phone number for the publishing company, and she recorded sexy audio clips with her own voice or other actresses’, so the first dirty talk lines actually were like sort of a voicemail.
At that time, if you were lucky enough to read an ad for the new sexual entertainment phone call line, you dialed the number and a sultry voice said “Press 1 to talk dirty with a MILF, 2 to speak to a dirty college student”, and so on. You paid per minute: part of the profits went to the telephone company, and part went directly to High Society.
This new form of adult entertainment soon became incredibly popular not only among the fans of the porn magazine, but also in states where pornographic materials were banned. Yes, the Supreme Court tried to regulate the distribution of sexy materials over the phone, but the law was pretty ambiguous. It was prohibited to sell “obscene” audio recordings, but the “indecent” ones were allowed.
The popularity of this audio sexy material was probably due to the same reasons for which we still reach for phone sex chat lines today. The privacy of doing it from your own home, convenience, and anonymity.
But Gloria had such a strong business acumen, that she soon understood that if people were willing to pay for just a recorded voice saying dirty things, they could be charged even more for live sex over the phone with a real girl.
And that’s how the chat lines for mobile devices, as we think about them today, were born.